• Tony Igele

Court Dismisses Suit against Edo Monarch

Edo State high court sitting in Agenebode has dismissed the suit against the paramount ruler of Okpella Kingdom, Okuokpellagbe of Okpella, Alhaji A. Y. E. Dirisu, in a case argued by his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).

Plaintiffs in the case, led by Chief Joseph Imanobe and 19 others, had sued the paramount ruler, accusing him of attempting or having the intention of altering the two ruling houses of Ogute and Oteku.

It was gathered that while Ogute are Ogute-Oke, Awuyemi, Imiekuri and Imiegeli branches, Oteku comprises Komunio and Iddo.

The plaintiffs had contended that the Okuokpellagbehad altered the Chieftaincy Declaration, which recognises only two ruling houses, by distributing amenities in such a way that suggests there were more than two ruling houses to the near exclusion of others.

The monarch, however, in his Notice of Preliminary Objection and Counter Affidavit, argued that the plaintiffs did not have any reasonable cause of action and that the Okuokpellagbe had not taken any step to alter the two ruling houses.

Ozekhome submitted that Chief Charles Adogah (SAN) was counsel to the plaintiff in this matter and Chairman of two earlier panels, which have recommended the creation of villages within the two ruling houses of Oteku and Ogute for administrative purposes; to enable the Okuokpellagbe administer the commu-nities seamlessly and to enable the distribution of amenities permeate to the grassroots.

He pointed out that the plaintiffs were beneficiaries of the creation of the villages, and wondered why they were “approbating and reprobating.”

In his judgment, the trial judge held that the preliminary objection succeeded on the ground that the issues raised by the plaintiffs and the reply to the issues were matters that were highly contentious and adversarial, which therefore ought not to have been instituted by Originating Summons.

The judge also held that in case he was wrong, that on the merits of the case itself, the plaintiffs did not disclose any reasonable cause of action to enable them activate the court’s jurisdiction.

Consequently, the court dismissed the case and awarded the monarch N20,000.

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